Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport

Revised National Development Plan: Discussion

Photo of Gerard CraughwellGerard Craughwell (Independent) | Oireachtas source

We mentioned the Galway ring road a while ago. It has been an issue for a long time. A group in Galway has spent an incredible amount of time looking at light rail systems. One issue that I have as we move forward with plans is that, for example, a bridge is being put over the Corrib using the old Clifden line pillars. I understand that it will be a footbridge. My question for Mr. Walsh is about when he is trying to plan for 20 years from now. Should we not look at that and say that instead of putting a footbridge over that, we will put a proper bridge there so that when and if light rail comes along, we are ready, infrastructure is in place, and the expenditure is one-off, rather than trying to retrofit it at some stage? I have seen plans to use buses in Galway. Galway city is not suitable for buses. It strikes me that a light rail system running from Oranmore to Barna would be the ideal way to do it. Deputy Matthews was talking about Limerick and Shannon and Senator Buttimer spoke about Cork. Light rail is the way forward.

I had an interesting call with a manufacturer of very light rail systems in the United States who offered to do the feasibility study for Galway. When we got talking about it, he said that there might be an opportunity to set up a manufacturing plant in Ireland. How do we move that forward? There seems to be a block in the thinking about light rail, that we should use buses because we have buses. These very light rail systems are being set up all over the UK. Why are we not looking at that? Deputy Matthews mentioned the feasibility study. I am not satisfied that that is a full feasibility study for very light rail in Galway. I am sorry for being parochial again. I have not lived there for nearly 40 years.


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